This year the Chamber of Commerce will mark International Womens’ Day with a lunch at the Beef and Beach. Guest speaker is Stephanie Lorenzo from Project Futures. You can buy tickets here.
‘When she is not being compared to the energizer bunny, Stephanie Lorenzo is the founder-creator of Project Futures. She has a background in marketing and communications and can talk a leg off a chair’. from the Project Futures website
After reading the autobiography of a Cambodian woman sold into prostitution as a child, Sydney marketing professional Stephanie Lorenzo decided that she had to do something.
She founded the charity organisation Project Futures to empower and engage her generation in raising awareness and funding to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation globally.
Stephanie has made working for charity meaningful, fun and collaborative for young people while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.
A world issue
Many people may not see human trafficking as a significant issue, while others consider it a problem suffered only by other countries. But the statistics on child sex trafficking are astounding, and it is happening very close to home.
- According to UNICEF, 2 million children will be sold into the sex trade in the next year.
- In South East Asia, many of these children are sold for as little as $50 and some as young as 6 years old.
- Profits from sex slavery exceed US9.5 billion per year.
- Human trafficking is the second largest organised crime in the world. It has become a bigger business than drug trafficking.
- In 1998, Child Wise(ECPAT Australia) established that over 3700 children were known to be working in prostitution throughout Australia.
- The majority of trafficked people to Australia have tended to enter Australia legally on tourist, student or work visas, but have ended up in situations of exploitation akin to debt bondage or forced labour.
- Since 2004, over 170 suspected victims of trafficking have received support from the Commonwealth Government’s Support Program for Victims of Trafficking.
In June 2009, Stephanie Lorenzo established Project Futures after organising a charity bike ride across Cambodia which raised US$80,000 for the Somaly Mam Foundation.
In three short years, the organisation has established a successful track record of events and campaigns including fundraisers, parties, concerts, print and multimedia campaigns, school and university programs, and media outreach programs.
The backbone of Project Futures is a network of socially engaged individuals who share a desire to see sex trafficking abolished in our lifetime. They aim to attract young professionals who have the ambition and dedication to utilise their skills and social networks to raise awareness of this issue.
Project Futures is revamping the image of charity. Their version of charity is exciting, collaborative, and is as equally focused on education and awareness raising as it is on fundraising.